|I've had my National Panasonic DR29 for about two months, putting it through its paces, cleaning, aligning, and generally bringing it back to life.|
I am very glad I opted for this EU version, and not the US version. I have found the built-in preselector quite useful, as well as hearing a beacon down on LW I haven't heard in some time... my point being, the US version doesn't HAVE the preselector or the LW band.
Beyond that, though, I imagine they both would sound the same and the audio is very nice, a 2.3W output with bass and treble knobs makes for crisp, deep FM, smooth mellow AM and SW.
I have other Panasonic RF receivers in the Command Series -- the 2200, the 2600, and the 2800, and I've noticed that the audio is very similar across the DR 29, the RF 2600 and the RF 2800. In fact, the DR 29/RF 2900 is almost the same receiver in the majority of its design and components as the earlier 2800/DR 28 (EU)... but it improves on the DR 28 in many ways, including having its blue-green fluorescent digital display work for ALL bands, not just SW as the red LED display on the DR 28/RF 2800 does.
I haven't used any of the Panasonic portables for much SSB listening, given the drifty, finicky tuning sharpness with the BFO. On the RF 2200 especially, SSB signals are far too fatiguing to endure for more than a few minutes and only on stronger signals... but on the DR 29, while it's still not a SSB barnburner, I am consistently able to get to a correctly tuned SSB signal more quickly and accurately than on any of its sibling receivers, and doesn't drift nearly so egregiously as the others. I have actually enjoyed a few SSB listening sessions for an hour or more, retuning often but not tiresomely so.
It hears everything the 2600 and 2800 can hear, on all bands. It can also hear more than the 2800, with better weak/fringe signal capture.
The preselector works from LW to MW to the top of the SW bands, and helps along in every band, but on the SW bands, that preselector has a tight Q and helps greatly to keep overloading, ghost signals, etc., down to a bare minimum, to the point where I haven't heard a single crossover or image signal since using it. One of the reasons it was added to the EU version was precisely for that purpose -- European radio stations are tightly packed together and a good preselector along with a narrow bandwidth setting can keep the chaos down to nothing.
My reference portable for analog MW is the Panasonic RF 2200, hands down. For FM, the prize belongs to the RF 2600.
But for all around functionality, sensitivity, and pleasure to use, the DR 29 is tough to beat.
If you can find a clean, working receiver for a decent price, go for the DR 29 EU version. You will be happy you did.